It was a rivalry game to the max.
Orem and Mountain View battled down to the wire in a Region 7 girls soccer match on Tuesday afternoon, with the visiting Bruins dominating the first half — but not managing to score a goal — and both teams putting the pressure on in the second half.
It came down to a penalty kick with about six minutes left in the game. Mountain View’s Tiffany Peterson was fouled inside the box, and Alecia Robinson lined up to take the shot. Orem goalie McKenzie Christensen, who had made several good saves in the game, made a valient effort to reach the ball, but it eluded her and went into the goal and Mountain View made that stand up for the 1-0 victory.
Mountain View improved to 4-5-0, 3-2-0 Region 7), while Orem fell to 1-8-0, 0-5-0.
“It was a hard-fought game,” said Mountain View coach Sara Atuaia. “We haven’t won here for a long time, so it feels good to get a win in a rivalry game on the road.”
Orem responded to that goal by putting a lot of pressure on the Bruin goal in the final few minutes. With three minutes left, McKenzie VanBuren had a free kick near midfield that almost went in, but Mountain View goalie Natalie Hall timed her leap just right and kept the ball out of the goal.
The Tigers had a couple more chances, but Bruin defenders just wouldn’t let them penetrate.
“We had our good moments,” said Orem coach Ed Louder. “We showed a lot of heart, especially after that first half. They must have had at least 80 percent of the attack on our end of the field in the first half, if not more.”
And it might have been more. The ball was seldom on the Mountain View half of the field in the first half — in fact, Hall didn’t even touch the ball until midway through the half, and she only touched it once or twice in the half. Most of her time was spent watching the action on the other end of the field from the top of the box.
Her teammates were relentless, keeping pressure on the Orem goal with free kicks, set plays, corner kicks and anything else they could come up with. But either Christensen and the rest of the Orem defenders kept the ball out of the goal — Savannah Hill headed the ball away once when the Bruins had it aimed right at the goal — or Mountain View players just missed sneaking the ball in, bouncing it off the crossbar or barely over the top of the goal.
“We were winning the 50-50 balls, we were playing hard, but we just couldn’t get it in the goal,” Atuaia said. “The ball was in their half of the field most of the time, and I think, with all those people back there, it just got crowded, it was hard to penetrate and get the ball in a good position. They played hard on defense, and we just couldn’t put it away.”
The second half was different story.
“Our girls came out with some good effort, they picked up the effort and worked really hard,” Louder said. “It was rivarly game, so it was going to be intense, and these girls came out really intense and worked hard.”
Both teams put pressure on the goal in the final period, and both teams had shots to score, but couldn’t get the ball in the goal.
“You know, soccer’s a funny game that way — you can be ahead 50-to-4 (in shots-on-goal), but it doesn’t matter. If they sneak one in and you don’t, they’ll win,” Atuaia said. “We had dominated the first half, but we hadn’t scored, so how many shots we had didn’t matter.”
And it didn’t as Orem had a couple of good shots to take the lead, but the Bruins wouldn’t give in and held tough until that penalty kick gave them the lead. Then, the responded to the Tigers’ increased pressure with a stalwart defense that wouldn’t give in.
“We’re doing pretty well,” Atuaia said as her team approaches the halfway point of league play. “We’ve lost the last couple, but now we’re back on the plus side in region play, and we’ve got Timpanogos next week to finish up first-half play.”